In an article published on Christmas Day 2011, the Fresno Bee had this to say about public employee double dipping. “Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan for sweeping public pension reform would hit the pocketbooks of employees who hope to collect a pension and paycheck at the same time. It is a common practice statewide, especially in law enforcement.”
If not common here in Mono County it is at least happening right in front of our eyes. District 2 Supervisor Hap Hazard, retired from the Mono County Sheriff’s Office with a generous pension of close to 90% of his salary plus health insurance for himself and his family, continues to collect a nice Supervisor’s salary with health benefits while accruing more retirement benefits for another future “retirement”.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office reports that the government likely cannot stop public sector employees who are already double dipping. However, you as a voter can. Ask Hap how he squares this practice with the responsibilities of a public official who must oversee budget cuts and contribute to the fiscal health of Mono County. Ask Hap how much taxpayers contributed to his retirement fund and how much they continue to contribute as he double dips. Ask Hap not what is legal but what is fair as we look down the muzzle of $700 billion in unfunded pension liabilities in the state of California.
On Tuesday, January 24 Dr. Andrew Bourne chose to end his life. He had been accused of violating section 288.3 of the California Penal Code. If convicted, he would have been jailed in state prison and been deprived of his livelihood. He would have been labeled for life as a “sex offender” and a felon.
The Santa Barbara District Attorney did not accuse him of ever touching or for that matter ever being alone with any “victim”.
The law, passed as proposition 83 or “Jessica’s Law” in 2006 states:
(a) Every person who contacts or communicates with a minor, or attempts to contact or communicate with a minor, who knows or reasonably should know that the person is a minor, with intent to commit an offense specified in Section 207, 209, 261, 264.1, 273a, 286, 288, 288a, 288.2, 289, 311.1, 311.2, 311.4 or 311.11 involving the minor shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for the term prescribed for an attempt to commit the intended offense.”
Other sections of this law have been challenged as unconstitutional but apparently not this particular section. The LA Times in a January 2009 editorial said: “Of all the ill-considered ballot initiatives approved by California voters over the years, few can match Jessica’s Law for sheer self-destructiveness.”
The question of guilt hinges on intent but how do you determine intent? It’s too easy to imagine how an innocent conversation could be interpreted as intended to seduce. For example, a kind older man assuring a young girl that men would find her attractive?
We’ll probably never know exactly what was in the messages exchanged between Dr. Bourne and the “victim” but we do know that this vague law killed a good man. It should be repealed before there are more miscarriages of justice.
Thank you, good samaritan!
My husband and I were driving up to Mammoth on Thursday, Jan. 12, and my husband lost his wallet in Bishop. He did not miss his wallet until we got up to Mammoth. Phone calls were made to both places we had stopped. Into the car he went and drove back down to Bishop, but no wallet.
The next morning we stopped at the Post Office to check mail and, lo and behold, there sits the wallet in our PO Box. The Post Office clerk told us “a young woman” brought it by.
SO … a very special “thank you” to whoever you are. We got the wallet, the cash and all credit cards back. Thank you for being so honest, and taking the time to get it back to us.
A response to Ms. Muir
My response to last week’s letter in The Sheet by Kate Muir [“Speaking out for the victim,” pg. 5] …
I feel deeply for Ms. Muir’s unfortunate childhood sexual abuse experiences. That can leave one scarred for life.
However, these experiences have absolutely nothing to do with the alleged charges by the justice system in Santa Barbara against Dr. [Andrew] Bourne and Joe Walker. As a child mental health worker, she should understand this better than anyone. Every case in the justice system stands on its own set of allegations and evidence. Innocent until proven otherwise stands as a strong tenet in our justice system.
The Santa Barbara Police Department, according to written reports, sent 16 policemen and appropriate vehicles to arrest, manacle and physically transport Dr. Bourne and Joe Walker to Santa Barbara. Could this be overkill?
Then the Santa Barbara Police Department allegedly leaked the story to a local TV station and they ran the story under the provocative headline, and I quote, “Two part-time Santa Barbara men are accused of raping a 14-year-old girl.” It was then reported that a judge levied a $1 million bond on each of the alleged perpetrators. The judge, as reported, considered them “flight risks.” After this was thoroughly publicized, the judge reduced the bail to $750,000 each.
Dr. Bourne’s memorial is being held this Saturday afternoon, Feb. 4. The location has been changed three times in order to accomodate the ever-increasing numbers of people who want to attend. Dr. Bourne’s many philanthropic activities and pro bono medical work in third-world countries are just a few of the reasons a larger venue was necessary to accomodate the community outpouring.
Consequently, your vituperative outpouring chastising our community with angry exclamation marks for wanting to donate to his widow and children, in lieu of flowers, is particularly inappropriate at this tragic time.
The Mammoth Gateway Community Project was on the agenda at the Jan. 26 meeting of the TOML Public Arts Commission submitting a request for funding assistance. After just a 10-minute time allotment, the Commission, with a split vote of 2-2, refused to entertain questions or to further discuss the proposed project.
I believe that the Gateway Project merits SERIOUS discussion. Such an impressive LANDMARK would provide Mammoth Lakes with a signature entranceway, greeting all who live and visit here. It would provide an aesthetically pleasing and architecturally significant STATEMENT OF WELCOME and undoubtedly create Mammoth’s very own ICONIC IMAGE to be seen “round the world.”
What is Paris without its Tower, Rome Colosseum-less, Seattle missing its Needle, St. Louis Arch-free, New York with Lady Liberty gone missing or San Francisco sans its Golden Bridge? Without their iconic landmarks, these places all become less defined and somewhat less notable.
In these difficult economic times, when everyone is being asked to make tough choices about spending within limited budgets, it behooves all our public representatives to critically weigh the investment of these funds and consider how such investments might be strategically MAXIMIZED to BENEFIT our town.
What is the MOST EFFECTIVE and STRATEGIC USE of the limited funds available for Public Art? In my opinion, this Project should be duly granted the appropriate amount of public funding commensurate with the BENEFITS that would surely be realized for the entire community and our visitors.
Therefore, I would ask that the Mammoth Lakes Town Council provide both guidance and leadership such that the Mammoth Gateway Community Project receives both a prompt hearing and just consideration by the TOML Public Arts Commission.
Coping with loss
This last month we were shocked and saddened to learn of the arrest of Andrew Bourne, M.D., who was Mammoth Hospital’s preeminent General and Vascular Surgeon. As we started to come to grips with this event, we were aghast to learn of his death. It’s hard to describe the wide range of emotions that our staff, physicians, and volunteers experienced. Many people worked closely with him throughout the hospital, especially those in Surgery, Recovery, Nursing Units and the Emergency Departmentand Surgical Clinic. Somehow they were able to reach down inside of themselves and continue to provide excellent care to our residents and visitors. I am proud of each and every member of our staff and am fortunate to work with such caring, talented and strong individuals.
There are many people I want to thank who helped us get through this event. Audrey Pauley M.D. was on her fourth day as Chief of Staff when the story broke. She has tirelessly met with staff and physicians, rounded on the departments night and day and made sure everyone was getting the support they needed.
Lynda Salcido, our Board Chair, came to the hospital immediately on hearing about Dr. Bourne and helped organize and participate in sessions with staff. She kept an eye on our administrative team to make sure we were coping and taking care of ourselves. Speaking of our Administrative Team, I could never have gotten through the last month without them.
Mammoth Hospital was well supported by our Community and I thank everyone who came to our assistance. Northern Inyo Hospital provided surgical care to our community for the 10 days it took us to get surgical coverage organized. Fred Weatherly, a Chaplain and grief counselor has been by our side and helped us through the past few weeks as events unfolded. Sheriff Rick Scholl and Police Chief Dan Watson both called the morning after Dr. Bourne died to tell me about a crisis team they had both worked with in the past. After a few phone calls, Julie and Sarah from Counseling Team International were on their way from Southern California and onsite that evening. Julie, Sarah, and Fred provided us with an invaluable service and helped staff cope with their grief. From Mammoth Mountain Rusty Gregory CEO and Jack Copeland, VP were quick to offer their support and any resources we might need. And, my Rotary Club has supported me and other staff throughout this ordeal. I can’t forget our families, without their support it would have been difficult to go to work every day. There are others I’m sure I haven’t mentioned.
Our physicians have stepped up to provide support and care to our patients. Doctors Fandrich, Sedwitz, Johnson and Ifune are covering the lion’s share of General Surgery coverage. Dr. Bortolazzo from Urology has assisted in following up with active patients whom Dr. Bourne was caring for. Dr. Harrell from Medical Imaging has taken on some of the vascular procedures for our patients. Doctors Anderson and Smith, anesthesiologists, are providing coverage so that Jonathan Bourne, M.D. can be with his family. And Dr. Deck, one of our surgeons who lives down south and is recovering from an injury himself, has offered to do anything and everything he can physically do.
We are moving forward and will continue to provide high quality care. We have begun the process to find permanent surgeons to replace and continue the great program established by Dr. Bourne, a physician who cannot be replaced. I think the blur of information in January is starting to fade and many of us are beginning to focus on the positives that Dr. Bourne brought to us in his five year career at Mammoth Hospital. I can think of patients whose lives he saved and whose lives he improved, such as the young lady who crashed into a tree while skiing and the snowboarder who sliced his arm nearly in half. He was there for them and many others. Andrew Bourne M.D. you will be missed. Rest in peace, my friend.
Gary Boyd, CEO